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Area farm dinners offer feast from fields

If you love great locally sourced food, fine wine and good company - all enjoyed against a backdrop of sweeping views of West Virginia's rolling farmland - have I got a few ideas for you!

West Virginia's own farm-to-table ambassador, Chef Dale Hawkins, will start welcoming guests at a monthly farm dinner series as he turns his Upshur County Fish Hawk Acres into a living, breathing "dining room" for an evening of food, wine, conversation and agriculture education in Rock Cave.

When guests arrive at 5:30 p.m., they'll enjoy a glass of wine and appetizers before setting out for a guided farm tour that ends back at the harvest table with an al fresco dinner featuring gourmet food sourced from West Virginia growers.

Throughout the meal, you'll hear from the people who have grown, caught, raised and crafted the items spread out on the table before you - with live music filling the air in between.

How nice does that sound?

The new series kicks off May 18 with a special "Spring in Appalachia" dinner.

On the menu . . .

  • Spring greens with chive blossoms and watermelon radish, pea sprouts, cucumber blossoms and watercress with roasted garlic vinaigrette
  • Rustic semolina green garlic baguette with homestead butter
  • Roasted lamb shoulder stuffed with Swiss chard and chorizo with poached asparagus and ramp bearnaise sauce
  • Pan-seared West Virginia rainbow trout with fava beans and lemon basil pesto with English pea and mint risotto
  • Ginger-rhubarb tart with double cream lemon curd and Mountain Roaster coffee

Tickets are $75 per person, and non-refundable reservations are accepted only via email at fishhawkacres@gmail.


* * *

The Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia is hosting its own gourmet farm dinner 6:30 p.m. June 10 at Swift Level in Lewisburg. This "Friends of Food" dinner will celebrate West Virginia's culinary heritage and local farm products with a five-course dinner served in a pastoral setting.

Some of the region's finest chefs will join forces to showcase "New Appalachian Cuisine" featuring local farm products, and featured wines will be paired with each course courtesy of the Wine Shop at Capitol Market.

On the menu that night . . .

  • An antipasto buffet by Hawkins, with gourmet cheeses from Green Glades Creamery
  • A soup by Chef Oscar Aguilar from DiOGi's in Fayetteville
  • An appetizer by Reed VanDenberghe from Stella's in Lewisburg, and formerly the popular Moxie Cafe in Union
  • An entree of filet of beef or veal by Chef Stephen Gustard of The Greenbrier Sporting Club
  • A cascade of shortbread tarts, again by Hawkins

Tickets are $100 per person, and advance purchase is required. They can be purchased online at or by mailing a check made out to "Collaborative for the 21st Century Appalachia" to 1508 Bigley Ave., Charleston, WV 25302.

Money raised will go toward funding worthy culinary and farm-to-table initiatives like the Country Roads and Cast Iron cook-offs, the Future Farmers of America's Heritage Content and the website, among others.

Lewisburg is one of the state's brightest culinary hotspots and Swift Level is absolutely breathtaking. I can't think of a better setting for an event showcasing West Virginia chefs, farmers and the fruits of their labor.

Contact writer Steven Keith at or 304-348-1721. You can also follow him on Facebook and Pinterest as "DailyMail FoodGuy," on Twitter as "DMFoodGuy" or read his blog at

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